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Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020

Abstract

This study was on Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020. There is presently a pervading feeling that the West and Central African states are long overdue to take control of their maritime environment. However, these expectations show no indication of materialising in the short term. There is a growing interest in the Gulf of Guinea and indeed the global village is impatient for these States to take responsibility for security and translate it to developmental indices of trade and commerce derivable from the maritime environment. Of course the global players in the maritime industry also expect to benefit from such attainments. The nations of the sub-region have embarked on individual and collective efforts to confront the myriad of security challenges that have continued to set them back, with little known results and much disharmony. In this era of heightened maritime security awareness, this paper purposes to exploit the potentials for diplomacy in bridging the gaps and cementing the individual efforts of the concerned states towards a cooperative maritime security regime. This study will focus on Nigeria, a central state and a driver to many initiatives in the Region with a view to relating its experiences to the general.

Chapter one

Introduction

1.1Background of study

Maritime Security is one of the latest buzzwords of worldwide relations. Essential actors in maritime policy, ocean governance and global security have in the previous decade started out to include maritime safety in their mandate or reframed their work in such terms. In 2014 the United Kingdom, the European Union as well as the African Union (AU) have launched ambitious maritime security strategies. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) included maritime security as one of its objectives in its 2011 Alliance Maritime Strategy. The U.S. pioneered this development when launching a national Maritime Security Policy in 2004. Also, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization included maritime security in their list of tasks. As reflected in the U.S. policy, the concept of ‘maritime security’ gained initial salience after the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the associated fears over the spread of maritime terrorism. If maritime terrorism has largely remained a virtual threat (Murphy 2010), the breakthrough for maritime security came with therise of piracy off the coast of Somalia between 2008 and 2011. The dangers of piracy for international trade brought the maritime dimension of security to the global consciousness and lifted it high on policy agendas.

Accordingly, the African Union (AU) has set up the Peace Commission to work with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to pursue peace and security in Africa through regional integration. However, one area that continues to draw international attention and concern is the insecurity in the African maritime environment. Africa depends heavily on the sea for food, trade particularly imports and for industrial resources which when exported generate much needed foreign exchange revenue.  A case in point of insecurity in the maritime environment is the piracy in the Bight of Benin, which has made the area the most dangerous in the World.

This important asset, after having suffered indirectly from the negative impacts of the initially localized piracy along the Nigerian coastline, was then targeted by pirates, armed robbers and illegal fishing vessels. The attacks in Benin’s waters reached alarming levels, when the country recorded 21 cases of piracy, making it a high-risk maritime country.

As a result of these attacks, as well as those perpetrated in the same period in the maritime areas of Togo, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and, on a much larger scale, Nigeria, the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012) to support the countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea. Internationally, these resolutions showed awareness of the extent of maritime insecurity in the region. Most of Benin’s key actors in the fight against maritime insecurity face a resource problem (human and material), with too few, ill-equipped and often unqualified personnel. This hamstrings operations. The human resources deficit in the Benin merchant marine is the result of structural adjustment policies in the transport sector. The merchant marine, whose primary functions include ensuring maritime safety, security and transport, and protecting the marine environment, has only 16 officers. Based on the background the researcher wants to investigate the Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020

1.2Statement of the problem

This study was necessitated by the rising piratical challenges and security  concern  within  the Nigeria  Ocean  Space.  The apparent growing  importance  of  West  African  piracy  is distorted  by  an overall  decrease  in  universal piracy.  Fattah (undated) noted that on  the other side Piracy  in the Bight of Benin has broken down since a peak of 237 incidents in 2011, to just  15 attacks in  2014 and only 3  attacks in  2015 also 3 attacks  in  the  first  half  of  2016,  that  represent  the  lowest percent  of  attacks  globally  which  ensured  that  the  piracy moved  actually  from  east  to  west  of  Africa  (IMB,  2016). Several national initiatives have been embarked upon over the years by individual states to curb the security challenges in the Bight of Benin as well as more recent bilateral and multilateral initiatives leading to some degrees of sub-regional maritime security cooperation. However, there seems to be no let-up in the rising spate of insecurity which appears to run parallel to the growing interest in the Region. It is within this framework that this study will seek to provide answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the organization for maritime security in Nigeria. b. What are the institutions/mechanisms/initiatives for regional cooperation between the states with shared interests in the Bight of Benin?
  2. What are the challenges to effective collective maritime security cooperation efforts between the states bordering the Bight of Benin?
  3. What should be done at regional level, in the existing regional groups to enhance cooperation in maritime security in the Bight of Benin?
  4. What role Nigeria play in curbing the challenges of security in the Bight of Benin?

1.3 Objective of the study

The objective of the study is to ascertain the Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020. The specific objectives are;

  1. To ascertain the challenges to effective collective maritime security cooperation efforts between the states bordering the Bight of Benin
  2. To ascertain the role Nigeria play in combating insecurity in the Bight of Benin
  3. To ascertain what should be done to enhance cooperation in maritime security in the Bight of Benin

1.4 Research question

  1. What are the challenges to effective collective maritime security cooperation efforts between the states bordering the Bight of Benin?
  2. What is the role Nigeria play in combating insecurity in the Bight of Benin?
  3. What should be done to enhance cooperation in maritime security in the Bight of Benin?

1.5 Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there are no challenges to effective collective maritime security cooperation efforts between the states bordering the Bight of Benin

H1: there are challenges to effective collective maritime security cooperation efforts between the states bordering the Bight of Benin

H02: there is no role Nigeria play in combating insecurity in the Bight of Benin

H2: there is role Nigeria play in combating insecurity in the Bight of Benin

H03: nothing should be done to enhance cooperation in maritime security in the Bight of Benin

H3: something should be done to enhance cooperation in maritime security in the Bight of Benin

1.5 Significance of the study

The study will be very significant to students, government of Nigeria especially maritime sector and the policy makers. The study will give insight on the Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020. The study will give insight on how to combat maritime insecurity in the Bight of Benin. The role of Nigeria government contributing in the challenges of maritime security. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of the study covers Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020. The study will be limited to NIMASA in Abuja

1.6 Limitation of the study

The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

FINANCE: This is one of the factors that contributed to the sample size used because of inadequate cash to support the sample size

1.8 Definition of terms

maritime security: Maritime security is an umbrella term informed to classify issues in the maritime domain that are often related to national security, marine environment, economic development, and human security. This includes the worlds oceans but also regional seas, territorial waters, rivers and ports

challenges: arousing competitive interest, thought, or action a challenging course of study a challenging job

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